You have heard it before. Children need consistency. They need familiar spaces. They need the comfort and reliability of routine.
You know what you don’t get when you move? Consistency, familiarity, comfort and routine. Not at first, anyhow. Slowly we are moving closer and closer to that, at least the comfort part. Rooms are put together. Familiar items have mostly been retrieved. And come next week when school begins, I hope to find the routine we long for.
Yet still there are sleepless nights for me. A new space has different smells, sounds, quirks. I am quickly annoyed by the little things, like not remembering how the light switches work or always having to look at a map to figure out where I am going. As I am continually reminded, these are all normal reactions to a not so normal situation. Anyone will tell you, moving sucks.
So what about the kids?
How are they doing? Are they bothered, anxious, lost? You know I worried about this. You know despite every effort to choreograph as consistent a transition as possible, I still anticipated the meltdowns. That tends to be how I parent stressful situations. Lower those expectations. It will save you from disappointment later.
But guess what, the kids are alright.
They really are. No, they're more than alright, their thriving.
And why wouldn’t they be?
Their whole wide and small world are cozy together in this home. The important things in life, endless imagination and people to love, are abundant and within immediate grasp.
They live next to a picture-perfect-midwestern-summer lake, for goodness sakes. Who can complain about that?!
I know without a doubt they are happy here, in their home, their neighborhood, and now, soon, their school.
And you know what, I am too. Because, you see, I am learning the most effective way to pull me out of an anxious funk is to check on the kids. How are they doing? Are they relaxed, happy, secure? Are they bothered by the nuisances? Or are they tickled by the little things?
Sure, kids thrive on consistency, familiarity, routine. But maybe it looks a little different than we think it does? Maybe the comforts of life, the people that matter and the moments that make us smile and shriek with joy, maybe that is enough.
Whether on a long vacation in a strange place, or in the middle of a rainstorm that ruins afternoon plans, or in the midst of a crazy cross country move, or maybe, as I anticipate next week, as she walks into that classroom ready to begin her new life as a student, I think it is always important to ask, so, how are the kids doing? Look at it from your children’s eyes. It will probably always look a little bit sunnier.
So, how are the kids, you might ask me. And I would say, why don’t you ask them yourself.
“I love this home.” She might tell you as she gives you a room by room tour. “I love the beach!” He will shout as he runs into the chilly water not yet warmed by the afternoon sun.
Me too, I whisper to both of them. Me too.